A Brief History of Rock, Off the Record
By Wayne Robins
Routledge – 2008 – 326 pages
The birth of rock ‘n’ roll signaled the blossoming of a new teenage culture, dividing generations and introducing a new attitude of rebellion and independence. From Chuck Berry to the Beatles, from punk rock to hip hop, rock ‘n’ roll has continuously transformed alongside or in reaction to social, cultural, and political changes.
A Brief History of Rock, Off the Record is a concise introduction to rock history and the impact it has had on American culture. It is an easy-to-read, vivid account written by one of rock’s leading critics. Pulling from personal interviews over the years, Wayne Robins interweaves the developments in rock music with his commentary on the political and social events and movements that defined their decades.
"Robins presents his [work] with enthusiasm and breezy good humor, yet manages unpretentiously to hammer home his historical points and musical opinions… His tone is ideal for the topic and format, a welcome relief from the disproportionate number of self-important academic treatises on modern popular music…" - Kirkus Reviews
1. Introduction: What is Rock? 2. The 1950s: Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Alan Freed, Rosa Parks, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, the Everly Bros., Jerry Lee Lewis, the Coasters and many, many more 3. The 1960s: JFK and the Twist, Phil Spector, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Motown, James Brown, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Kinks, The Doors, Plus, war, riots, assassinations, civil disorder, acid and weed 4. The 1970s: Transition: Sly Stones and Black Rock. The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, the New York Dolls, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Van Morrison, Singer-Songwriters and Southern California, Punk Rock. Heavy Metal. Disco. Prog. Southern Rock. Bruce Springsteen. 5 The 1980s: Heartland Rock, MTV, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, Hair Bands, Prince, Metallica and Speed/Thrash Metal, The Smiths et al 6. The 1990s: Sonic Youth, Nirvana and Grunge, Britpop, Hip-Hop, Radiohead, Green Day. The Rest of the Best: Festivals, Napster, iTunes, The End
Wayne Robins is a noted writer on rock and social history. From 1972-75, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the influential rock magazine, Creem, working with such legendary writers as Dave Marsh, Greil Marcus, and Lester Bangs. From 1975-94, he served Pop Music Critic for Newsday, where he was among the first to profile artists ranging from Madonna to Billy Joel. He is the author of several books, including 1968, a history of the music and culture of that seminal year. He currently works for Billboard magazine.